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  1. Good Morning All; New traders often find themselves very challenged to have the discipline to follow the trading plans that they have created. The truth of it is, few have created any real plans and even fewer have a comprehensive working plan. Those that do, often find it difficult to follow their plan in the heat of the day. One of the reasons this can happen is because traders often do not spend their time properly, before, during, and after the market. Organize Your Time Of all the time a trader can devote to their occupation, most new traders usually fall into the schedule of spending 90% of their time actually trading the market. They spend 5-10% of their time preparing for the market, either the night before, or the morning prior. They spend 0-5% of their time following up on their trades after the market. Unfortunately, for new traders, this can be a big down fall. Being caught up in the excitement and overtrading, without stopping to evaluate trades, is a bad combination that can lead to failure. It is fine to be with the market all day. Just make sure your trading plan identifies what times you should be trading. It is a great idea when you start out to use about one third or your time preparing for every day, about a third of your time following up on your plays and reviewing them, and only one third actually trading. This is very different from where most new traders are. This does NOT mean that if you spend 6.5 hours trading, you must devote another 13 hours to your trading. You should have strategies identified that only take place at certain parts of the day. There should be parts of everyday where you will not be trading. You can use this time to review the morning trades, or the prior day's trades, and to update your record keeping and journals, and even paper trade new strategies. Closing Comments Many newer traders feel like they are missing something if they are not part of every possible trade. Patience will pay off for those who are selective and take the time to review each of their trades and learn from the ones that did not work out. The concept of following up on trades and how to do it is immensely important, and beyond the scope of this commentary. Make sure you understand it well, before trading.
  2. Good Morning All; Sometimes identifying the process we go through in learning can help the learning process itself. For example, any difficult task, such as trading, is generally learned in four phases. This assumes of course that one even gets to the later phases. When students read the following, it often helps them understand they may be making great progress, even if it does not appear that way. The Learning Process The first phase is what we call the "unconsciously incompetent" level. This means that we do not know the material, and worse than that, we are unaware of the vast amount of material we need to know. Most traders are in this phase when they begin trading. Perhaps you know someone like this. They feel they have all the tools they need to make proper decisions and are completely oblivious to what the market has in store for them. The next learning level is a vast improvement as it is what we call the "consciously incompetent" level. At this level, the trader still does not know material, but at least they are now aware that there is a vast amount of information they need to learn and they need to begin that process. In other words, at least at this level, they are aware of their ignorance, and that is a big step forward. Many traders who seek out seminars or who begin to look for training are at this level because they have tried on their own, and not succeeded. The next level of learning is the one that takes longest time. It is to get to the point of being "consciously competent". This is all that traders should be striving for, realistically. This is the ability to be able to know and memorize all the techniques that have been studied, and to be able to reproduce them, with the trader consciously making an effort to follow the same plan every day. The next level would be the final level and considered one of mastery. It is rarely found in trading. It is the level of "unconscious competence", where all the rules and strategies fall into place without effort by the student to enforce them day after day. Closing Comments If you are learning to trade, you will pay your tuition one way or another. You can pay a fair amount toward education, or you can pay a lot more to the market. Often when you pay it directly to the market, it is more of a 'fee' because you do not get an education in return. People often put off an education thinking they will try it on their own, or they should wait for a better market. Unfortunately new traders often get the attitude of waiting to pay for an education with the profits they get from the market without an education; so it never happens. The market is ALWAYS good. There has never been a better time to get involved in the market. Paul Lange Vice President of Services Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc
  3. Gaps occur every day to varying degrees on stocks and indices. To the stock trader, these gaps can offer enough trading opportunities to be done trading by mid-morning and many are. That being said, these gapers, depending how they have gapped, can provide additional trade setups later in the day as well as in the coming days. In this Chart of the Week, we'll review two gaps and a strategy how to have played them, use in the future and why they should continue the move. As I mentioned, gaps occur in varying degrees. Those gaps also can be in the direction of the prior day's movement or against them. With the prior days of movement the gap can be a continuation (pro) type of gap or it can be an exhaustion (novice) type of gap. The difference is based on whether the gap occurred after some type of correction within a trend, e.g., a gap up after a pullback or a consolidation base within an uptrend. The exhaustion gap occurs after prices have been trending in one direction for a period of time and then prices gap in that direction. All price movement reflects traders' and investors' beliefs and emotions; however, gaps can provide a shock element to price movement when the gap is against the recent price direction. Those educated and experienced trading gaps aren't shocked by continuation and exhaustion gaps, since they are expected based on the existing trend, location of support, resistance and pattern of candles. When prices gap in the opposite direction of the current pattern that partially or completely reverse the direction of the prior bar or two, it's a shock. The larger the immediate candle before the gap and the size of gap against it, the greater the shock and potential opportunity to profit. Let's look at two. American Express (AXP) had started to move lower with a large gap down, slightly recovered, stalled and then broke lower and closed with a huge red candle that closed near the low of the day. That day also occurred with an increase in volume. The pattern was pointing toward AXP moving lower, but that didn't happen. Rather, AXP gapped up the next day more than 50% into the prior red candle's range! Gaps like this shock traders since the prior pattern did not suggest such a large move in the opposite direct. We can correctly assume that traders are short were expecting AXP to move lower based on the pattern. What do you think they are going to do if AXP doesn't immediately collapse lower? This is what sets up a "Gap and Go" type of morning for stock traders to take advantage of. If AXP can move higher above the high (red line), it should continue moving up. But let's look at the intra-day chart that day and how it setup. On the gap up AXP cleared its resistance area, but the gap higher also leaves a partial void of support that has the potential to be filled. For that reason, entering long immediately could result in a move lower and without a clear area to place a stop-loss. What to do? Let AXP form a price pattern signaling that buyers are stepping up and taking control again in the form a reversal pattern. These patterns can happen in many ways, but the trained trader will follow Bar by Bar and see whatever the pattern is as it unfolds. The odds are AXP will move up based on the daily shock setup. AOL Inc. (AOL) is another example of a gap and shock. AOL was moving up toward resistance, but had closed strong the near the day's high and with an expanding range. The next day AOL gapped under that large green daily bar. What are all the traders that bought AOL that day now holding or anyone that bought in the prior two weeks? Right, losses! What would you do if you were long? Cut and run? Hope it comes back to get even? Buy more? The last two choices typically don't work out very well. No one likes losing, but it happens. Professional traders and investors have a plan that includes a stop-loss and stick to it. A gap lower under a large daily green candle strongly signals that prices will go lower, but gaps create voids and the intra-day entry must be formed. Here I have included the15-minute chart to see why prices stalled moving higher; the resistance (supply) to the left. The 2-minute detail provides the pattern signaling the setup on the current day in alignment with the big picture. These are some of the basics of what to look for when trading a gap. Look for daily shocks, prior areas of support or resistance where traders will take positions and a current pattern that forms in alignment with the big picture analysis. The odds will be in your side. All the best, Greg Capra President & CEO Pristine Trading
  4. Every trader at some point in his career will face one or several "losing streaks". This is a fact of this business, and whoever tells you this isn't so has not traded very long or at all. Losing streaks can be produced by the faulty use of a tactic, inefficient analysis of market direction and internals, or other situations. These consecutive losing events can not only produce a drastic drawdown in your account, but even worse, can cause considerable psychological damage that might take a long time to correct. Let's talk about some of these issues and some ways to correct them. The first problem with a losing streak is the fact that it "tends to produce mounting losses". After the trader has finished his paper trading period (Interestingly, losing streaks rarely happen at this stage), the trader will have to deal at some point in his development with the diminishing capital caused by a streak of losses. Depending on whether the trader has established a proper trading plan to deal with his development, this streak will be more or less bearable. Consistency in the application of a plan and a set of tactics takes time, so it's more likely that a trader will have to contend with losing streaks during his development when he is trying to grasp and refine his approach. Thus, a proper money management scheme that looks to protect capital during the developmental stages is paramount. As the trader gains consistency, his plan will protect him from extremely bruising losing streaks, by establishing maximum losses per day or month, and by regulating the steps a trader should take in case he is facing one of these streaks. Even more troublesome to the trader might be the psychological consequences of a bad losing streak. When you face a losing streak, and you lack a proper plan, you might have to deal with 'trader's paralysis". This occurs when you had a severe loss, which produces such a fearful state that makes it impossible in your mind to take a new position. Confidence is lost. To climb back in the saddle, the trader has to create a process to recuperate such confidence step by step. It should begin with a brief paper trading period. Then, when the trader begins to trade real money, it's a very common mistake to try to enter into positions with very small stops. This might be a huge mistake. I believe that in order to regain confidence, the trader should enter into positions with wide enough stops so that the probability of it getting hit short term is very small. He might even consider entering into positions with not so great risk/rewards, just so he'll be able to remain in the position for as long as it takes until it hits the target or stop. This might allow him to regain his confidence that he can hold a position. Small shares during this process is suggested until a regained good win to loss ratio is achieved. Of course, this is only to regain confidence, and afterwards the proper selection of risk-reward plays is still paramount to a trader's success. If you have not taken a trial to our Interactive Live Trading rooms in a while, drop on by to see how you can gain more experience in how you trade and learn from some of the profitable trading idea's we generate daily. Take a free trial or call your Counselor at 1-800-340-6477. Would love to see you drop by with any questions you might have or to just gain some great insights into trading the current market. Jeff Yates Contributing Editor Interactive Trading Room Moderator Gap, Intra-Day and Swing Trading Specialist Instructor and Traders Coach pristine.com
  5. Good Morning All; You buy a stock and watch it climb to its target. You see it becoming extended, and into resistance at a key reversal time, and you sell it just as it rolls over. It was a perfect trade. If you sold it, it means someone bought it from you. Did you ever wonder who just bought your stock? Who Just Bought That Stock - In case you were not aware, for every buyer there is a seller. There is no magic "stock warehouse", where you load up on stock, and dispose of it when you are finished. In addition, you are not dealing with the company who issued the stock. You are buying and selling from other people. Traders, investors, fund managers, market makers, etc. The only exception is when stock is first offered to the public, or when additional shares are made available from the company, but these are rare instances. So if you sold your stock at the 'perfect' spot, the question remains, who bought it? Well, there are two answers. The first one you may be thinking but are afraid to say. Yes, a 'fool' may have purchased your stock from you. On any day when the market stays flat, the market is a zero sum game (negative after commissions) and for every winner there is a loser. It is possible that someone made a very untimely purchase of your stock and took a loss on it. Do not feel bad, the market place thrives on novices who feel it is "easy" to take money from the market. They are needed to support the market. Just make sure you are not on the losing end of too many of these trades. The second answer is a bit more complicated. It is possible that you sold your 'scalp' for a nice profit, but the area you sold possibly took out resistance on the 15 minute or hourly chart and got the interest of a day trader who is willing to hold for a bigger target with a wider stop. Then the day trader who buys if from you may hold it for several hours, and sell into the prior day's high, and wonders, "Who bought this stock at this extended price?" The answer to that question may be the 'swing' trader. While it may be extended on an intraday basis, the fact that it traded over the prior day's high may be the trigger needed to entice a swing trader. Again, with a wider stop and target expectation. In addition, at any 'buy point' in any timeframe, there may be a host of other players jumping in based on sound, or not so sound, reasons. There may be real price support. There may be a nice trend holding. There may also be things like moving average crossovers, Gann Lines, Fibonacci levels, uptrend lines, stochastic triggers, MACD crossovers, etc, etc, etc. While any one of these may not be terribly relevant, a certain price area may trigger several of these and begin a rally. The bottom line is simple. Having as many time frames pointing in the same direction as possible, combined with as many 'triggers' hitting in the same area, will be the best chance of getting a stock moving in the right direction. Then your job is to beat the crowd getting in. Paul Lange Vice President of Services Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.
  6. When scanning for stocks that are likely to continue to move in one direction overall, I want those stocks to have a few criteria in alignment. I want the move up to have already started, but not that long ago. I want multiple time frames in alignment. I want the sector that the stocks are in to be in favor by institutions. I also want - and this is important - there to be a VOID of overhead resistance. Here are two stocks that meet all those criteria and are going higher. he above stocks, Prudential Finl. (PRU) and CME Group (CME) meet all of my criteria to move higher. The daily time frames have clearly established their uptrends and are well on their way. The monthly time frames have just move above long-term resistance. The Financial sector is a favorite of many analysts featured in the media. Lastly, there is a clear "tradable void" above for prices to continue the move higher that has just started. These two stocks are going higher based on the criteria I've defined. Greg Capra President & CEO Pristine Capital Holdings, In
  7. The prior Chart of the Week (COTW) dated May 20th was titled "Ripe for Breakout Failures." In it, I showed you a couple of breakout failures and I gave you a few stocks to watch including the S&P 500 ETF symbol SPY. Break-out failures (BOF) are all over the place now and are obvious to even the most novice chart reader. Pristine students, and hopefully you as a reader of these COTW lessons were prepared for the moves lower that have occurred since that time. Many of the daily Break-Out Failures (BOF) have now formed monthly Topping Tails (TT) in May, so let's look at a few and the differences in how they have formed. A Topping Tail (TT) is a signal that buying (demand) was not strong enough to overcome selling (supply) at the high of the range, so prices fell. This can often signal that the end of a long-term uptrend is at hand when the TT forms on the monthly time frame. However, the truth is that we really never know when an uptrend is no longer an uptrend until it doesn't meet the definition of one; higher highs (HH) and higher lows (HL). That being said, with the signal of a monthly TT, those educated in the proper use of multiple time frames analysis can find excellent "swing-trading" and "day-trading" opportunities. Let's look at some different chart patterns with monthly TTs. Before we review the charts, here is some food for thought for those of you are not Pristine Students, yet and are in search for the truth when it comes to understanding technical analysis. I said above that the definition of an uptrend no longer being in effect is a simple way of knowing that an uptrend no longer exists. It's that simple, but virtually every commercial we see to open an "online trading" account (they seem to be endless) and from those that tell you they can teach you how to use technical analysis will show you a break of an uptrend trend line, a moving average, a retracement level or any of the other technical trend tools used to do it. Also added are some of the hundreds indicators that come with an endless combination of settings. All of these are often meaningless as a guide to a trend break and are outright misleading. Sometimes, it may even look like they got it right because the definition was violated at the time (e.g. the break below a prior low) Why do so many use these indicators? I assume it's because that is what they were taught and they never seriously questioned why those indicators fail as a guide so often. Why do the brokers wanting you to open an account with them show these? First, most actually know nothing about the technical analysis tools in the platforms they offer. To them more is better compared to than what the competition may have. They also want you to believe software can make you money. An educated, disciplined investor or trader - with a plan - can make money with any charting software. Let's continue. The TTs in the above charts all formed after what we refer to as a "fluid move" higher. Fluid moves have continuous higher high (HH) and higher low (HL) candles and these preceded the TT. This type of price move is the strongest possible and displays the most certainty about the buyers' view on the stock. This is the type of trend you want to buy on the pullback in anticipation of a higher swing low to be followed by a higher high in the trend. Realize that the lower time frames will not look good to the untrained eye at the time the monthly swing low is forming. That is when the knowledge of how to use multiple time frames will benefit you most. Without it, you'll miss a big part of the move. Here price have spent time moving sideways before the TT formed, so there is a larger area of supply (caught buyers) above. These can also form a higher swing low on a pullback, but these highs tend to be more difficult to overcome. The uptrend has not been violated on any of these, so keep them on your watch list. The TTs within a range tend to continue the erratic price action that has been happening. Red Hat (RHT) has the largest TT compared to its most recent price ranges. For that reason, it has higher odds of testing the bottom of the range. Notice that BRCM has an opposing Bottoming Tail (BT) that is significantly larger than the TT. This suggests that BRCM is least likely to move to the bottom of the range. YUM Brands (YUM) is more neutral since its TT is inside the range of the prior candles. YUM could be a breakout play higher if it stays at the top of the range during a market correction (i.e. relative strength). These two TTs have formed after a breakout above their resistance areas and failed to hold onto the move higher. A breakout above resistance followed by prices falling back to the breakout point historically will result in more selling. Everyone that bought the breakout as well as points inside that TT candle are now holding a loss and are likely to sell on any further weakness. United Parcel Service (UPS) is likely to see more selling pressure than BEAM if it moves below the prior candle's low, which was a BT candle. The reason for that is because of how it moved up from the 2012 low (star). UPS moved up in a "fluid" arrangement of HH - HL candles whereas BEAM move up, but within a sideways to upward motion. You're most likely thinking, "but UPS was the stronger move up, so why would it be likely to see more selling pressure?" That's an excellent question. The answer is because fluid price moves like seen in UPS leave little to no support reference points for traders to use as new buy points if prices pull back. In addition, the BOF in UPS was preceded by a continuation buy signal. BEAM on the other hand has many overlapping candles that display a higher level of uncertainty. Another way of understanding the traders' expectations within these patterns is this: The UPS price move up (fast and fluid) is virtually a sure thing (trade) to continue its move higher. The BEAM move up (slow and overlapping) should move higher, but a stall would not be a big surprise since that is how it has been moving all along. The TT candle in both has changed that to different degrees. Buyers of UPS are shocked to see its continuation of the prior strong move result in a TT. Pristine Tip: Technical Analysis of current price movement and the patterns that preceded it is a representation of the thoughts, beliefs and expectations of all those that created the chart. This includes independent traders, investors, hedge fund managers, money managers, those running auto-trading computers, etc. Lastly, the TT candles in these stocks are also in the process of making lower highs. A move under the respective TT candles lows will begin to establish those lower highs. Each stock fell relatively hard in 2012. Notice the large red candles and the weak recovery in 2013. Clearly, these stocks have shown relative weakness and have higher odds of falling to their prior lows, and potentially below them to make lower lows. The month of May has produced many Topping Tails (TT) candles that have signaled increased selling pressure. As you have read and viewed, the knowledge of a TT without an understanding of the price action that preceded it is close to no knowledge at all. Having some knowledge may be even worse than no knowledge at all, since you are likely to use that information incorrectly and potentially lose a lot of money. Isn't that what we all do when starting out? As you can see, TT candles can and do come with many different arrangements of patterns and the reaction to that TT will be different based on those different patterns. In addition, there are other technical factors to consider like volume, prior support and resistance, market environment at the time, sector rotation, multiple time frame analysis, relative strength or weakness, market internals and more. At Pristine, we teach all of these and most importantly how to combine their information together to find high probability investing, swing-trading and day-trading opportunities. All the best, Greg Capra President & CEO Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.
  8. As markets and stocks move higher and then higher again with very little retracement or sideways corrections the potential for breakout failures increase. Because of the surprise or shock to traders playing the breakout, these failures can produce great opportunities for swing-trading over a few days and even higher odds day-trading opportunities. Let's look at a couple of examples that have happened and some current patterns that may. As with all Pristine trading patterns, understanding the thought process of traders that created the pattern is an important component to having confidence in the play. The breakout failure pattern is an easy one to understand since everyone has been caught in one at some time in the past. But let's review it. As prices are trending higher, traders are waiting for an entry point to get on board the trend. The most popular entry is when prices pullback to a reference point of support. Some traders will use a prior high, a moving average, a percentage of retracement or simply a dollar about. However, when prices move sideways (a very strong tread), rather than retrace, the trader is confronted with the choice of having to buy a breakout. If the breakout results in prices falling back under the breakout bar's low, the unexpected or shock has happened. What are you going to do? Breakouts are high odds trading setups, however, they are best used after the initial start of a move. This could be after the first rally from a bottom phase or it could be a gap-trading setup where the gap was a daily Pro-Gap, followed by prices basing for a period of time intra-day. Breakout failures increase when prices have been trending higher for a long time or have moved too far, too fast. There aren't a lot of these failures happening yet, but there are a couple that I can show you and a few that might result in failures. Last week, Deere (DE) broke out above a several day base and at the time it looked like higher prices were a sure thing. However, the next morning DE gapped well below the breakout bar's low. Can you imagine the shock to traders and fund managers that had bought the breakout the prior day? DE is an example of prices moving too far, too fast. Think about what you would do if you bought DE and it continued to show more weakness. What if you were a fund manager with cash on hand and starting buying a lot more shares of DE, but sellers just kept on dumping, so price barely moved up. Are you feeling it? In the above chart of Castel Crown Intl. (CCI), the daily time frame actually looked good for a breakout to continue. The base was a reasonable length and it was forming at the top of a Bullish Wide Range Bar (+WRB). However, the weekly was up from its base five-weeks in a row. Now, that doesn't always mean the breakout could not have worked, but it was lower odds. That being said, the breakout failed when prices broke under the breakout bar's low. It's shock-time for the breakout traders, what are you and other traders going to do? HCN has been moving up on the weekly time frame since the end of last year, and notice that last week's range was the widest since the move started. In addition, it closed almost at the high of the week; no wick or upper shadow. In other words, buyers were falling over themselves to get these shares after multiple weeks of a straight up run into a weekend. Thinking must be that there is no risk of moving lower. Hum, well maybe that's true and we'll see. Friday, HCN broke out above two bars with equal highs. That was a minor stall of course and not what many would consider a base, but this is what strong trends do. If prices break under Friday's low it will come as a big surprise to those that bought last week. Universal INS Hldgs. (UVE) has had a big run this year and may move higher still, but right now it looks ripe for a breakout failure. Last week's range narrowed after the prior week having had a huge range. That signals that the bullish momentum reached an extreme and then slowed. Buyers of UVE are not expecting a move under Friday's low, so if prices do - the trap will be set. Lastly, here is a chart of the S&P 500 ETF symbol SPY. It also broke out above two prior days with relatively equal highs Friday. Buyers stepped up all day Friday and when there was no pullback mid-day, they scrambled to buy shares right into the close. Notice the size of last week's range compared to the prior ones. If SPY breaks under Friday's low, it will be a shock to those recent buyers and that is likely to bring in sellers short-term. However, it will not change this bullish uptrend simply because the trend will still be up. What I have shown you in this Chart of the Week (COTW) is how to recognize one type of failure/shock pattern. Educated short-term day-traders and swing-traders know how to take advantage of these moves when they happen. If you are holding long in this market for the intermediate-term there is nothing for you to do. That being said, watch to see if there are any breakout failures next week and what happens.
  9. This stock isn't going to be the next big mover like Apple (AAPL) was in its hay-day, but it has formed a bottom and signaled the start of a move higher last week. Bottoming formations take time and typically have multiple retests of prior lows, breakdown failures (BDF) and false starts. One signal that has had a high degree of not being a false start coming out of a base is the Bullish Wide Range Bar (+WRB) on increasing volume. After falling lower with virtually no bounces at all in 2011, Corning Inc. (GLW) began to form a bottom. Like most bottoming formations GLW had its retests, failed attempts to move higher, (none ever cleared any prior highs) and a breakdown failure that was retested. Notice after the move up from that retest GLW based sideways at resistance. Pristine Tip: Basing at resistance after a move up signals buyers absorbing the supply and bullish. Last week, GLW formed a +WRB with increasing volume and closed above its recent resistance area. Look further to the left and you will see other large green candles, some even with an increase in volume, but none of them cleared prior highs. Those prior highs still have to be overcome; however, the price action that has occurred after them suggests that is going to happen. By putting together the parts of the overall price action that has occurred we have the making of a bottom and bullish signal. I could have put a few indicators on the chart to show you how they are becoming bullish and signaling a move higher also. Most likely would create a belief in those indicators as a reliable way of determining a bottom. In time, you would be moving on to the next indicator someone else used. This is the cycle most go through forever and never understand how to read the interaction between buyers (demand) and sellers (supply). Bottoms form in different ways, but if you learn to read the price action the way I've explained, you will be able to determine when that is happened. Whether you trade stocks, commodities, currencies or the market indices learn to read the price action, not indicators that attempt to read the price action for you. Greg Capra President & CEO Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.
  10. Pristine Trained Traders (PTT) whether Core Trading, Swing Trading, or Day Trading are "Pattern Traders." Each Pristine pattern is clearly defined and is taught with an understanding of not only the pattern, but also what the pattern communicates about those that created it. Most learn candlestick patterns and their names, which is elementary. Additionally, because the names define those patterns as bullish or bearish they can be completely misleading, wrong and result in losses. Here's one. In the above chart of Sandisk Corp. (SNDK), the combination of the last two candles is what is called a Bullish Harami. Any candlestick scanner software will mark it as such. The pattern is one in which a large red candlestick is followed by a smaller candlestick whose body is located within the lower range of the larger body. Obviously, the two candles meet that definition, but there is nothing bullish about them to an educated chart reader. To understand this from candlestick terms, the Bullish Harami views the large red candle range that is followed by a small candle range as the bulls taking control. While the selling pressure has eased for the moment, this pattern cannot be construed as bulls taking control. What's happened for the moment is that the sellers are taking a breather after crushing those bullish and will return. Supply clearly overcoming demand. SNDK was clearly in a strong uptrend and in an uptrend like this price either pullbacks to Minor Support (mS) or "creates support" during corrections. What they don't do is slice through Major Support (MS) like it isn't there at all. That is what SNDK did and it is a bearish event that is in no way bullish. What typically happens next is the pattern will continue lower if prices break under the low of the last green candle; a 123 continuation pattern. They may consolidate a bit longer under or slightly above the area that was MS, so it is possible to trade above the high of the green candle. That would not be a confirmed 123 pattern; it would develop into a slightly different continuation pattern. To understand what is happening let's take a look at an intra-day chart. Wide Range Bars (WRB) like the one that occurred in SNDK on Thursday (the #1 bar) are multiple smaller bars moving in one direction with strong momentum intra-day. The rapid price movement lower leaves little to no areas of consolidation or retracements. Without those areas to use as tradable reference points to sell into, we have what I refer to as a "Price VOID." After a period without a retracement (continued supply) a base forms intra-day and a narrow inside bar (the #2 bar) on the daily time frame. This is "creating a new area of resistance where there was none. If prices continue lower on the next bar (#3 bar), we would then have a confirmed 123 pattern. What I have explained above it a basic understanding of the 123 continuation pattern and used SNDK as an example to make the point that candlestick pattern names can be very misleading. That being said, there is a higher level of understanding for the use of the 123 pattern. For example, view the weekly chart of the stock EOG Resources Inc. Symbol (EOG). It's not a 123 pattern yet because the #2 bar has not formed yet, it may this week. However, you will see a large red candle breaking below a base. While SNDK broke below a base of MS, it started its move lower from a pivot high. See the difference? Both patterns signal lower prices, but these differences are what the PPT takes note of. Greg Capra President & CEO Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.
  11. Good Morning All; Last week I began discussing a definition of trading. Today we are going to discuss how newer traders often define trading, and the process they go through to get there. What is Trading? Part 2 of 2 Many people 'invest' in the market by placing a 'bet' on the future of the stock market as a whole (usually the bet is that the market is going up). For those who decide to make income by actively trading, they usually feel the market is easy. They have been inspired by a great (or not so great) book, free seminar, or 'infomercial'. They have heard of great success, been introduced to a strategy that worked one time, and feel that since they are clearly above average in both intellect and perseverance, this stock market game will just be another conquest. Their definition of trading is likely along the lines of 'buy low and sell high, over and over again to produce a profit'. Soon after trying the concept that they learned which had introduced them to the market, they become frustrated. It is not working. They have probably justified many reasons why it is not working, and have concluded that to truly master the markets, they need more information. Therefore, they go on the crusade to become experts at everything. They read Barron's, IBD, Fortune, and Money. They study all terms learned on CNBC. They become an expert on all news and economic numbers. Suddenly the party conversation becomes analyzing the last 'book to bill number' or how foolish Greenspan was or Bernanke is. The quest now becomes to find stocks that they have determined to be 'undervalued', based on the superior knowledge they now have. Their definition of trading is now likely along the lines of 'looking for obvious overvalued and undervalued situations to capitalize on'. Soon they discover that 'undervalued' does not mean the price has to rally. If it does rally, their timing may be so far off, being 'right' did not matter. They also find they are not 'right' very much. They also discover that 'undervalued' goes hand in hand with 'really weak' and they are now starting to think that they are still missing something. They are also getting frustrated. This was supposed to be easy. Most still view it as easy at this point. They simply have had some bad breaks, rotten timing, poor luck, and naturally needed to overcome some growing pains. Unfortunately, it is at this time that they become most susceptible to the prey of the 'Holy Grail' vendors. Those who are selling products that are 'guaranteed' to make you money by following a simple 'how to' manual. When this crosses that, buy; when this changes color, sell, etc. Their definition of trading is now becoming blurred, and they start to think about many in depth questions about 'fundamental versus technical', about using 'technical indicators'. Desperation and lack of confidence often sets in and the definition of trading is sounding more like 'buy whatever the newsletter or market guru says'. If this flow sounds shockingly familiar, do not be surprised. At some point, a few will wipe the slate clean and seek out an 'education'. To learn to think for themselves and evaluate what is happening, not what they are being told. They come to understand that trading is a complex ever-changing environment that requires understanding as only derived in a total learning process. Below is the definition we gave you for 'trading'. If you read over it lightly yesterday, take another look today. "Using technical analysis to find a moment in time when the odds are in your favor. Then it becomes a matter of entry and management. In other words, it is having the KNOWLEDGE to know when the odds are in your favor, having the PATIENCE to wait for that moment, then having the DISCIPLINE to handle the trade properly when it goes in your favor and properly when it goes against you." Paul Lange Vice President of Services Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.
  12. Last week, the broader markets broke out above their current resistance areas and S&P 500 finally joined the all-time high list. With no area of prior price resistance above, it's safe to assume that the markets will be continuing their march to higher levels. Finally, mutual fund investors that bought into the market at the highs in 2000 or 2007 and suffered long through 50% decreases and slow recoveries will see a gain on their investment. Happy times are here again!!! Hold on a sec., it's not that easy. As students of the markets and educated investors, swing traders or day traders, we don't assume anything. Following the trend is the simplest approach there is, and it works. However, human nature being what it is, without an objective method of determining the underlining strength or weakness and sentiment of the markets. We are more likely to ignore or rationalize the warning signs of change or the actual trend change itself when it comes. Of course, this assumes you have a method of doing that. I have seen enough trending markets to know that they always go further than you think they will. They continue their move until they have rung out the last few doubters and I think the markets now will do that with this uptrend as well. An example of a trend that moved beyond what the majorities believe was possible is Apple (AAPL). It moved from 100 a share to 300, 400, 500, and then 600! The doubters were rung out. At 700 there were few that doubted it wasn't going higher. Then when the turning point came; well, it's a temporary stall. It will be back to new highs shortly. Maybe it will at some point, but AAPL is now down 40% from its all-time high and still showing relative weakness to the broader markets. The greed and fear that comes with being human cannot be stopped. AAPL investors are realizing this now, but with an online trading education you can empower yourself to overcome that human fault as it relates to investing your money in the markets. Here is what I am looking at now to guide me about the recent move higher in the broader markets. n the above chart, I've put together four market index ETFs. The S&P 500 ETF symbol SPY, the Nasdaq 100 symbol QQQ, the Transportation index symbol IYT and the Russell 2000 index symbol IWM. I also have two market internal gauges. The McClellan Oscillator, which is a measure of market breadth and a Put/Call ratio with a 5-period moving average of its closes. We have many markets that have made all-time highs (not shown other than SPY) or have broken out above resistance like the Nasdaq 100. However, IYT did not move to new all-time highs with the recent move higher and is under its resistance. IWN also could not move to all-time highs and is under its resistance area. Historically, these two indices not confirming have been warning signs of underling weakness that preceded a market correction. It's too early to say these two indices will not move higher above their respective resistance areas, but should they establish lower highs and move toward their recent prior lows, it will be a bearish signal. If they move above their resistance areas, it's happy days - onward and upward! The internal gauges shown here are neutral. The McClellan is near zero and the 5-MA of the put/call ratio is in the middle of the range, so no guidance there of a turning point. However, those typical "wrong-way" option traders immediately jumped to buying puts (bearish bets) Friday. This is a short-term bullish sign that supports the breakout last week in SPY and QQQ and a continuation of that strength last week. That strength was not confirmed by all indices, so we have divergences that are concern. However, with option traders that are historically wrong and betting that the markets will move lower, the divergences are offset by those excessive bearish bets. With this, I'll be neutral over the next few days, but siding with the breakout to continue higher. Greg Capra President & CEO Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.
  13. There is a common sequence of events that most traders go through during their development. This begins when many of the strategies that the trader is learning begin to come together and the trader begins to see the light. This can happen slowly with a cautious trader who has been paper trading or playing with a small share size. This can happen for aggressive traders as they start to have some big numbers in profit on some of their better days. However, while the trader begins to feel good, there usually are some lingering problems. While the light seems to be coming on, the account is not growing. It seems that every time some progress is being made, something happens that stops this progress and the account does not grow. It is 'one step forward, and two steps back'. If this is something that you can relate to, you are not alone. Spending time in this area to understand this process is very important to your development as a trader. If you review your records you will likely find several good trades throughout the week, and then a bad trade. One so bad it really sticks out. So bad, it erases all the hard work of the prior gains that you were so proud of. It may show up as several profitable days and then one day that erases all the prior gains. If this is the problem you are having, there is good news and bad. The good news is that you are now doing well with the 'technical part' of trading, and now have to deal with the psychological part. The bad news is that you are now doing well with the 'technical part' of trading, and now have to deal with the psychological part! Psychology is not an easy thing to deal with. The answer? First, it's self awareness. It's identifying the issues at hand as being psychological. Once we've admitted we have the problem, we must build and change our Psychology so that it is conducive to making money in the markets consistently and without fail. We teach many procedures that traders can take to help their progress at this point. Use a trading plan, keep detailed records, and track the strategies you use. Print charts of your trades to analyze your discipline, trading plan, and strategies. Make a plan to eliminate recurring problems. Use money management that prevents catastrophic trades or days. Once the trader eliminates their 'demons', they will likely see an improvement in their trading. Unfortunately, that is not the end of the psychological issues. Sometimes a trader uses all of the above tactics to make great improvements and even become successful, then gets 'over confident' with their new success and abandons everything that got them where they are. The road will always be full of new challenges, the traders that thrive have on ongoing plan and a commitment to patience and discipline. Jared Wesley Contributing Editor Interactive Trading Room Moderator Gap, Intra-Day and Swing Trading Specialist Instructor and Traders Coach
  14. A breakout occurs when prices are able to clear a prior price area that has been a point of resistance in the past. But this doesn't mean all breakouts are the same. A breakout can occur after a decline that is followed by a period of whippy consolidation - that in time "tightens up." It can occur in one fast move from a low to and above a prior high. Not the ideal entry. It can also occur after a rally that is followed by a period of consolidation. Consolidations can happen in various forms, a base being the most widely used. Ideally, a tight base or a tightening in the last few bars occurs just prior to the breakout. Let's review some examples. In the above example, prices began to move up after a retest of the prior low and rallied all the way back up to the prior resistance area. The second to last candle that formed was a Topping Tail (TT) that signaled that sellers are focused on the prior high area - resistance. However, the next candle ignored the TT or in other words, buyers continued to step up regardless of the prior resistance area; a bullish sign. Prices could continue higher above the prior high and the supply of shares there. But without a small period of consolidation that would display buyers "absorbing" that supply, the likelihood of a retracement into the prior rally is high. Absorbing that supply reduces the possibility of a breakout failure. Some buyers that own shares from lower prices are going to sell at resistance after such a move. If prices move above the prior high without a stalling first, many more are going to cash in on the quick profit. Buying a breakout after a straight through rally above the prior high from a low can be done, but not without a stop-loss based on the move. The size of the stop and share-size must take into consideration the retracement that is more than likely to occur. In the above example, Prices rallied from a base after the signal bar formed. The initial move stalled for moment (shaded area) where the opens and closes of the three candles are overlapping. Pristine students know these overlapping opens and closes are a base on a lower time frame. This is where buyers will step up on a pullback, should that occur. That pullback did not occur here, rather buyers continued to step up above that level and form a new pivot low; a bullish sign. That low provided a new support reference point that was taken advantage of on the rested. The last bar engulfed the most recent candles, which is bullish and tells us that buyers are anticipating a breakout above the recent resistance. Large bullish engulfing bars like the one seen are typically followed by a smaller candle or candles. Typically does mean always, especially with this pattern since the bullish bar came after a period of consolidation and retest. In this example, prices broke out of a whippy consolidation and while there were clues that shares were being accumulated, there was no clear signal bar of the breakout occurring at that moment as there was in the prior example. This long period of uncertainty was followed by two Bullish Wide Range Bars (+WRB) signaled huge increase in buyers and higher prices. Fast, igniting moves like this create a void of price support below. However, this pattern (two +WRBs out of a consolidation) is less likely to correct by pulling back since the move began from a consolidation. It is also less likely for prices to base or consolidate for a long time for the same reason. The last candle in the pattern actually signals the low of the correction after the +WRBs and higher prices - a breakout - will follow soon. I have shown you the same stock Boeing (BA) in different time frames and explained how to interpret the price movement in those time frames. Traders using these time frames or others could potentially enter BA on signals that come together at the same time. This is what makes for explosive moves when they happen. However, each could also enter at different times depending how the patterns developed from here. For example, the traders using the weekly time frame could enter on the next candle's move above the high, which could happen immediately. To the trader on the hourly time frame that entry would not be ideal since there is no clear reference support level to use as stop-loss because of the straight up momentum move. Also, such a move would certainly setup other new entry points in the hourly time frame or other lower ones. All traders can have the same bias, but entering at very different times. All entries can be right for that trader in their time frame of choice with confirming price patterns. Pristine Tip: Intra-day traders use signals from higher time frames for a bias and then trade signals (price patterns) in a lower time frame in alignment with that bias. Greg Capra President & CEO Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc
  15. Good Morning All: As traders enter the arena, they are always full of questions. That is a good thing. As they progress, traders have even more questions. When they start to get good, they have even more questions. The trader always feels that they have good questions, and that their questions are also unique, things that only they would think of after the long journey they have been on. While it is true that all these questions are 'good', they are far from unique. As a matter of fact, it seems that we all end up on almost the same exact path, running into the same questions, in search of the same answerers. For a long time I have been known to say, "I have not heard an original question in years". I say it because it is true. We all go through the same process, which brings about the same questions. There was an exception once. A few years back, someone asked a question I actually had not heard before, and truthfully, have not heard since. Someone very simply asked, "How do you know when it is time to quit?" When to Quit Believe it not, this caught me by surprise. I am not use to 'new' questions. However, just as surprisingly, an answer came out of my mouth instantly, and without even thinking about it. I said, "When you can no longer do what it is that you know you need to do". Surprising answer? It actually is the perfect answer. When a new trader starts out trading, they usually try to begin with no education or with very little education. If this is the case, struggle will be expected and be the norm. The answer at this point is not to quit, but rather to get a quality education. At the next phase, traders take all this valuable information, and while they feel great about it, they often do not use it well. They do not have a plan to assimilate the information, so it is used inconsistently or not at all. They usually do not even know they are doing this, they 'think' they are doing things by the book. The answer at this point is not to quit, but rather to develop and use a trading plan. At the next phase, traders write a plan, but there are several problems. The plan may be just words on a paper done just to accomplish this step, but have little real meaning. Or it may have meaning to the trader, but has never been tested so may actually be an ineffective plan. Or, the trader may have a good plan, but is not following it. Traders rarely follow their plan, and rarely realize that they are not following it. The answer at this point is to check your plan, and follow up on your actions to see if you are following your plan. If the plan is not effective, change it and/or seek help to make it more effective. Paul Lange Vice President of Services Pristine Capital Holdings, Inc.
  16. have an announcement to make. I'm happy to report that the never-ending search for that perfect indicator is alive and well. It has never ceased to amaze me how people can take epic journeys towards attaining such mythical tools. They spend countless hours and money in the pursuit of that perfect tool that will provide perfect buy and sell signals, no matter what stocks and market conditions they're dealing with. Let me state here and now that I have no prejudices against indicators. But in my journey as a trader (and many of you might agree with this), I've not been able to find any formula that can successfully produce buy and sell signals of quality, every single time in all market situations. But that's all right. Indicators aren't supposed to do that. In fact, it's our opinion, and that of many others I've had the pleasure to work with through the years, that the real purpose of indicators isn't that of providing reliable buy and sell signals. For that we have price patterns. Indicators (at least some of them) serve us well as "guides" that help us accelerate the analysis of a security's price behavior. Let's review this with an example. One of the most archaic uses of indicators I can remember occurs when someone looks at crossovers on moving averages as buy and sell signals. I would bet countless individuals have paid thousands of dollars for "trading systems" that exclusively use this concept. Any trader with some knowledge of the way moving averages work would instantly recognize that by the time such moving averages "crossover", the price action has already occurred. In some instances, such signals might provide a continuation of momentum, but in general, by the time you get the signal, it's too late. That's the typical use of an indicator as a "price predictor". We're not in this business looking to predict. Our goal is to analyze opportunities, evaluate odds, and manage our trades. For us, a better and more objective use of moving averages is as trend following tools. Looking at a stock that presents a rising 20ma will quickly give us information about the trend of that stock, without having to look at 12 months of price data. Then, we will use price data to find reliable opportunities for trading. So, the next time you look at a chart that includes your favorite indicator, try to use the information provided by it in such a way that helps you to evaluate the securities trend, strength, volatility and velocity. Don't try to use it to predict prices. In this way, you're bringing a level of objectivity to your trading that will serve you well through the years. KURT CAPRA Contributing Editor Instructor and Traders Coach
  17. Market analysis is in important part of our everyday activity. Pristine Trained Traders (PTT's) are taught to use our renowned Pristine Market Analysis techniques, which advocate a macro-to-micro approach. This means analyzing the market and internals first, then doing the same with the diverse sectors contained in your universe, and ultimately performing the same analysis on individual stocks. This ensures that you're trading in the same direction of the markets, and not against them. One important part of this process is sector analysis. This analysis allows the PTT to quickly identify potential trading opportunities in an individual sector of the economy. It's a well-known fact that institutions move their funds from one sector to the next rather than from an individual stock to another. This is called Sector Rotation. Sometimes, this rotation occurs because money is moving from assets perceived to be more risky (e.g. Tech Stocks) to assets perceived to be less so (e.g. Gold) and vice versa. But this rotation isn't always intended to be protective in nature. Institutions tend to have a "flavor of the month" approach, where they lock on a sector of interest, and direct all their efforts to invest their funds and sell to their clients the idea of investing in such sectors. This creates an avalanche of funds getting into or out of any given sector, as most institutions will play the same game in order to avoid falling behind the "average" performance of its competitors. This rotation effect caused by funds being allocated to or from any specific sector will create price movements that oftentimes will be presented as a Stage 2 (Uptrend) or a Stage 4 (Downtrend) in those sectors, as measured by the different sector indexes that exist, allowing for tradable opportunities for the educated PTT. This is nothing new, as the "Sector Trading Tools and Tactics" we teach in our seminars let you trade in the same direction of most institutional traders and market makers. Here are just but a few different ways in which a PTT can use sector analysis: As a means to quickly search for trading opportunities in stocks within the sector. As a benchmark with which to measure Relative Strength and Weakness. As a trading opportunity by using sector following securities. Let's briefly delve into each of these categories. Sector Analysis as a means to quickly search for trading opportunities in stocks within the sector. One very simple and quick way in which the PTT looks for and finds tradable opportunities is by looking at the several sector indexes in his "universe". These indexes, being a basket of the different securities that conform to a given sector, will often show recognizable Pristine Setups (taught in our TPM and ATS seminars) that are formed because many stocks in that given sector have formed such patterns. Thus, a Pristine Buy Setup (PBS) in a daily chart of the $BTK.X (Biotechnology Index) should produce several stocks in that sector that show similar price patterns. In this way, the PTT can quickly focus on opportunity, by analyzing the macro list of sector indexes, and then finding the best setups within that sector. Sector Analysis as a benchmark with which to measure Relative Strength and Weakness. Within any given sector index, some securities will outperform the index and some will under-perform it. This is only natural, as you'll always have leaders and laggards in any sector. The PTT uses "Relative Strength Analysis", taught in our famed ATS Seminar, to evaluate the performance of individual securities within any given sector, vs. their sector index, in order to determine which patterns present the best odds of a successful trade. Sector Analysis as a trading opportunity by using sector following securities. As a trader, you have several options to try to benefit from a sector move. One that is becoming more widely used is trading "Index Tracking" Securities. These securities (Holdrs, ETF's and I-Shares), traded mainly in the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), are trusts that hold a basket of stocks that mimic the sector index composition. Some of them are liquid enough even for Micro-Trading, even though most are better suited for swing and core trading. Trading these securities is an efficient way to do Core Trading, as it allows you to participate in any sector's potential multi-week move, while reducing the risk of any individual stock in that sector gapping down or moving against your position. Jeff Yates Contributing Editor Intra-Day and Swing Trading Specialist Instructor and Traders Coach
  18. You find a near perfect Pristine Buy Setup, meeting all the requirements of your trading plan, and devise a plan to trade it. Now the stock is at your established entry price, you click on the buy button, and it's done! You just bought yourself a position in XYZ. Whatever outcome is produced by this position should be considered your responsibility. Both a positive or negative one. But this isn't always the case. Our culture has suffered from a loss of the personal responsibility values that built it. These days, an individual walks into a McDonalds and after getting fat due to the excessive consumption of burgers, sues the company for making him fat. It's the old "the devil made me do it" rationale. But we have to understand that every action, even the decision not to-do something, is made by the individual out of free will. When an individual considers taking some course of action, he will compare the perceived positives and negatives of taking such action, and if the positives outweigh the negatives, he'll proceed with it. This same rationale can be applied to trading. When you take a position, it should be because the probable positives of taking such a position outweigh the potential negatives (High odds). A proper trading plan should see to this. Novice traders, never seriously considering the negative potential of any trade, will base their decisions on a constant bias towards the positives. When your stop loss price is hit, you and only you are responsible for the outcome of your trade. It's easy to blame specialists, market makers, or other dastardly subjects for your loss. But it was you in the first place that decided to buy/sell short that position. You should have considered all the probable positives and negatives of taking such a trade. Is this a NYSE stock? Learn about the execution conditions that exist in listed stocks before taking that trade. Is Bernanke speaking while you plan to hold on to your position? It's your responsibility to know all possible implications. At the end of the day, you take a position, and it either moves in your favor, or against you. If you're right, you'll make money; if wrong you'll lose some. In either case, you and only you will be responsible for the outcome. Understanding this is a step towards professionalism. KURT CAPRA Contributing Editor Interactive Trading Room Moderator Instructor and Traders Coach
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